• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

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Artifact Gallery -- Wall Painting

View of wall painting in Cliff Palace tower
Wall Painting

Much like we paint and plaster our own houses today, Ancestral Puebloans used layers of colorful plaster to decorate their walls, inside and out. Designs were often painted on with a fibrous brush or with fingers using paint made from a combination of colored pigments and dilutants/binders such as water, oils, and occasionally, urine. Keep in mind that water was scarce in this arid climate.

This painting, found inside a room at Cliff Palace, includes triangles possibly representing mountains, and geometrical designs common to Ancestral Puebloan art. Here is a challenge – do some research and form your own theories about what these designs might represent. Remember, no one knows for sure.

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Did You Know?

Zia Corn Dance

Descendants of Mesa Verde Ancestral Puebloans include the Hopi in Arizona, and the 19 Rio Grande pueblos of New Mexico: Taos, Picuris, Sandia, Isleta, San Juan, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Nambe, Tesuque, Jemez, Cochiti, Pojoaque, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Zia, Laguna, Acoma, and Zuni.